Sunday, 10 November 2013

Two older Whisky Broker casks–Ardbeg & Bunnahabhain 21

I owe my discovery of the Whisky Broker (http://www.whiskybroker.co.uk/) to Tom Thomson of Tom’s Whisky Reviews, who revealed to me that my much loved Tomatin Burns Malt (at Whisky Barrel – inexplicably still available) is actually a WB cask that was previously released for a tenner less by WB before being bought up and sold by Whisky Barrel.  Since then I’ve realised that if you look really closely it says whiskybroker.co.uk in tiny tiny letters at the bottom of the bottle.

Anyway I’ve shopped there now and he provides great quality whisky sans marketing and packaging and its as raw as whisky can be. Lightly filtered out of the cask, straight into the bottle.  Recently he had a bunch of new bottles up on sale including a 21 year old Ardbeg which I couldn’t resist, and a chance to get hold of an old Bunna for not much.  Here are my thoughts…

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Whisky Broker Bunnahabhain 21 year old, 48.4%, A+

Still available at time of writing.

Nose – Fruity, waxy, deep and tropical wheat.  Lovely, classical and elegant tropical wax nose; rich, mature and well presented.  Sweet mango and banana.  Absolutely beautiful.

Body – Very spicy, sharp wood, very hot, loads of structure.  Very good but lacking some richness. 

Finish – Long, fizzing at the side of the tongue.  Wood journey and citrus edges.  Just the balances falters at the end, too quick to the wood bitterness.  Adding water further unbalances it. 

What’s not good about it: Lack of balance in the mid and end

What’s good about it: Beautiful nose, interesting whisky, delicious to drink and good value

Whisky Broker Ardbeg 21 year old, 42.5%, A+

Sold out in about quarter of an hour, I bought the first bottle!

Nose – Sweet, old peat, really lovely, sweet Ardbeg.  BQQed mackerel and sweet apple.  Really refreshing, clear, sweet, fruity nose (grapes, pear, some mango, back note of burnt oil).  Lovely balance and fresh with smooth old smoke, candied peel, citrus, lemon.  Very refreshing.

Body – Peppery apple, structure and still smooth.  A bit too smooth perhaps, then the peat.  A real session whisky, which is a shame given its availability

Finish – Long, smoky, smooth but loads of wood, citrus notes move around the tongue.  Beautiful but with a chunk taken out of the mid-range.  Bitter wood is nicely integrated.  Salty.

What’s not good about it: Lacks body, richness.

What’s good about it: Fresh, big peat but elegant, very refreshing but structured.

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